Archives for category: November

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Romalea microptera (Romalea guttata)

Size: adult female 50-70mm (2-2.8″), males 43-55mm (1.7-2.2″)

Location: Southeastern US, broad range in low, wet areas in pastures and woods and along ditches.  In north Florida from about March to November.

Food:  broad variety, but prefers broad-leafed plants.  Polyphagous — eats small amounts of a large variety of plants.  In Florida can create problems in citrus groves, vegetable plots and landscape ornamentals.

Life cycle:  One generation per year, with eggs over wintering (this stage can be as long as 8 months), egg laying begins about one month after reaching adult hood, usually the summer months.  Eggs are deposited in soil located in drier areas although adults prefer damp or wet habitats.

Predators:  tachinid fly (Anisia serotina).   Most birds and lizards avoid these insects, except loggerheard shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) will capture them, impale and cache the grasshoppers on barbed wire and return when the toxins have degraded.

Generally the adult is dull yellow color, but in North Florida adults remain black.

The common name describes the walking and crawling behaviour of the grasshopper.  “Lubber” is from an old English word meaning lazy or clumsy.  Novice seamen were called “landlubbers”.

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Ardea herodias

Family:  Ardeidae

Great blue herons can be seen throughout Tate’s Hell, in the rivers, creeks and ditches along the roads that crisscross the forest.   These are large, elegant birds with blue-gray backs, black sides and gray and white striped bellies.  The heron’s has a white face, cap and black crest on its head.  The juvenile is duller color and without a crest.  White and intermediate phases occur in Florida.  Great Blues are easily recognized in flight by 6-foot wind span and neck folded into an “S”.

Great blues can be found anywhere in the continental US and southern portions of Canada.   Though they are migratory birds, they can be seen in Florida throughout the year.  Their preferred habitats include lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes.  They lay two to seven pale blue or blue green eggs on a shallow platform of sticks lined with finer material, usually in a tree, but sometimes on the ground or concealed in a reed bed.  They often nest in colonies.  The eggs incubate from 25 to 30 days and both adults share in the sitting.  The average life span is 15 years.

They are carnivorous and eat fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, shrimps, crabs, crayfish, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other aquatic insects.  They forage while wading, of belly deep, impaling prey with their sharp bills.  They are active day and night.

The great blue heron in Womack Creek is particularly skittish and therefore we have not been able to get closer to the bird, unlike other places where it is fairly easy to get close enough to great blues while paddling.  All photographs on this blog are all taken on Womack Creek so until we are able to get closer to the bird(s), this photo will have to suffice.

Most of the information is from iBird PRO, a great I-touch application for bird ID.

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Helianthus angustifolius L.

Forb/herb, perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  September, October, November, yellow

This plant attracts bees, butterflies and songbirds.   You will find it blooming with climbing aster.

Location:  N30 118 W084 32.556′ (.16RR), N 30 00 090′ W 84 33 125′ (.7 RL), N 30 00 370′ W 84 33 613′ (2 RL)

P1000490-001Baccharis glomeruliflora Persoon

Shrub; perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  November, December, yellow, white

Silvering is a severe allergen.

Location: N30 061 W084 33.215′ (.9RL), N30 093 W084 33.359′ (1.12RL), N30 684 W084 34.255′ (3.24RR)

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Symphyotrichum simmondsii (Small G.L. Nesom)

Forb; perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  October, November, white

Attracts butterflies and other insect pollinators.

Location: N30 150 W084 32.980′ (.5RL); N30 168 W084 33.456′ (1.2RL)

Native Americans used an infusion of this plant for sunstroke.

Climbing Aster

Symphyotrichum carolianum
Shrub/vine, Perennial
Native: L 48
Blooming: May, June, July, August, September, October, November, purple
Nectar for pearl crescent, monarch, skipper and dainty sulfur butterflies, hornets  and bees; larval host plant for pearl crescent butterfly.  On September 26, 2013, we saw a northern green anole (Anolis carolinensis carolinensis), in a blink of an eyelid, catch a skipper and dispatch it down its gullet.   When in full bloom, the bushes are full of inveterbrates and their predators (spiders and anoles), a fascinating demonstration of the mutuality of blossoms and insects.   Plan some time from your paddling to enjoy the activity around these flowers.
Location: N30 00.940′ W084 33.343′ (1.2RL), N30 00.098′ W084 33.439′ (1.6RR), N30 00.353′ W084 33.666′ (2.3RR)